An Abbotsford man has been sentenced to two years in jail for sexual assaults involving 12 women while giving them massages.
In giving reasons for sentencing, Justice Ian Caldwell found the assaults, which occurred between September 2018 and October 2020 happened “under the guise of massage therapy sessions which targeted women, often pregnant women,” with social media and other offers of discount or free sessions and services.
According to the ruling, Loewen took a one-week massage course designed to allow him to give massages to family and friends, and opened his business “Bud’s Massage Therapy” two months later.
The assaults took place in a room rented in a basement suite in Abbotsford that Loewen used for his business.
Loewen “used a position of trust,” isolation and took advantage of the women’s vulnerability, Caldwell wrote, at various points touching his victims’ vaginal areas and sometimes breasts.
Loewen, a retired businessman and long-time former elder with his church, admitted during a risk assessment he had “crossed boundaries and did some very wrong things” but claimed “he did not experience sexual arousal from the touching, did not have fantasies, and did not masturbate following the incidents.”
The doctor conducting the risk assessment found those claims to be “unlikely,” the ruling notes.
In handing down the two-year sentence, Judge Caldwell noted Loewen’s actions were planned and deliberate, and involved using financial incentives to attract financially and physically vulnerable victims, including pregnant and post-partum women.
“Mr. Loewen was in and used a position of trust to lure women, many of them vulnerable, into his work area where they found themselves even more isolated and vulnerable,” Caldwell wrote.
“In that setting, he sexually assaulted them, sometimes repeatedly over the course of a session, and often in the face of their spoken and/or physically exhibited protests and directions to him that he stop. He continued this practice over the course of two years. It is clear those women suffered emotional and psychological injury as a result of his actions.”
Along with the jail time, Loewen was sentenced to three years probation, with conditions including no contact with the victims and a ban on any kind of massage activity.
He was also handed a 10-year firearms ban, must provide a DNA sample and register as a sex offender.
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